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Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007 | Kay Stewart’s op-ed expressed much of what I have been thinking since evacuating from Lakeside early last week. My community, with its huge and beautiful eucalyptus trees, could be the gateway to Santee and then the rest of San Diego if the winds blow just right next time. I have come to realize that I do not have the right to enjoy the area’s beautiful landscape while we, as a community, put the whole of San Diego at risk. But just cutting down my own trees will not suffice. The greater problem is that we are not really a community but an aggregate of individual families often completely disconnected from our neighbors and our environment and without any sense of interdependence. This is the product of many factors, but certainly our suburban development and our dogged and destructive commitment to our individual homes and automobiles are among the most important. As long as those of us with the greatest privileges and resources maintain our lives as individual homeowners and not as members of a greater social body, we will not address the common threat we face from wildfires; nor will we see our responsibility for even greater, enduring social problems such as poverty, racism, militarism, and environmental degradation.

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